Eminem may have made peace with Christina Aguilera, but now he's caught up in another beef — this time with veteran rapper Benzino.
Calling Em a "2003 Vanilla Ice," Benzino's slow-tempo "Pull Your Skirt Up" goes after hip-hop's great white phenom with lyrics like: "Five shades darker, you'd be Canibus/ And no one would care about your complicated rhyme style/ ... What you know about pumpin' on the block 'til you freeze?/ What you know about cutting up rocks, duckin' [detectives]?/ What you know about facing a grand jury indictment?/ As far as I'm concerned, you're just industry excitement."
Referring to his day job as the self-proclaimed "co-founder and visionary" of The Source (which some see as a conflict of interest that explains how he landed on the cover), Raymond "Benzino" Scott reminds the multiplatinum rapper that the magazine highlighted him as up-and-coming talent. "You was unsigned hype before you ever met Dre/ I birthed your little career, now you owe your life to Ray."
While picking the biggest name in rap as your target may seem like a play for attention, Benzino claims "Pull Your Skirt Up" is his reaction to racism in American pop culture.
"I had a problem with 'the machine,' with the double standard in hip-hop," he said. "Certain media outlets take to him and look at him as the savior in hip-hop and the #1 in hip-hop and [do] not recognize the guys out here that created hip hop. ... Eminem is just the hood ornament for the machine. ... You think I could grab my crotch and put my ass in people's faces the way he does? No way. But as long as the color of his skin and his eyes fits what America wants, ... it's all right."
Since hearing "Pull Your Skirt Up," the ever-busy Eminem has recorded two response tracks, "I Don't Wanna" and "Nail in the Coffin." In the latter, Em calls out Benzino for everything from being an "83-year-old fake Pacino," to struggling as a rapper, to "pimping your son" (Sony recently signed Benzino's young son), to using his position at The Source to get rappers to contribute to his album: "You sit behind a desk at The Source butt kissing, beggin' motherf---ers for guest appearances/ And you can't even get the clearances because real lyricists don't even respect you or take you serious/ It's not that we don't like you, we hate you, period."
All the while, Em reminds listeners that he didn't start the beef but that he plans to finish it. "I don't wanna be like this, I don't wanna hurt no feelings/ I'm only being real when I say nobody wants to hear that grandfather rap/ ... Put the mic down and walk away, you'll still have a little bit of dignity."
On "I Don't Wanna," Eminem ends by rapping, "[You're] the softest, fakest, wannabe gangster in New York, and it's pitiful/ I woulda never said sh-- if you had kept your mouth shut, bitch. Now what?"
Both songs aired Thursday night on DJ Kay Slay's WQHT-FM radio show in New York. Kay Slay is also including Em's tracks on his latest mixtape, Street Justice Part 6: Loyalty and the Terror.
"Pull Your Skirt Up" will be featured on Benzino's second solo album, Redemption, due in January. The rapper emerged in the early '90s as a member of Boston's Almightly RSO (later called the Made Men). Last year Benzino went solo with The Benzino Project, which sold poorly despite appearances from Teddy Riley, Fabolous and P. Diddy. His latest single, "Rock the Party," was produced by P. Diddy hitmaker Mario Winans.